A tycoon who nominated scandal-plagued chief executive candidate Henry Tang Ying-yen said he needed to think twice before actually voting for Tang in the March 25 election.
Gordon Wu Ying-sheung, chairman of developer Hopewell and a Hong Kong delegate to the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, said: 'A nomination does not mean support on the real vote.'
The tycoon's remarks came as Tang fired a salvo at his arch-rival Leung Chun-ying for the second consecutive day.
Another CPPCC delegate, Lew Mon-hung, revealed that at least one property tycoon who nominated Tang 'recognised Leung'.
'I talked with more than one tycoon on the flight to Beijing [today] and found despite their nominations for Tang, they recognise C. Y. [Leung],' said Lew, who refused to disclose further details.
Tang warned yesterday that putting the former Executive Council convenor in the city's top job would spell disaster for Hong Kong if Europe's debt crisis triggered a global recession.
'We are at a perilous moment as Hong Kong faces the threat of a crisis,' Tang said. 'To ensure stability, we absolutely cannot rely on Leung Chun-ying, who lacks experience and is full of empty talk.'
Tang, financial secretary from 2003 to 2007 and then chief secretary until last September, said that with him at the helm, the city was far more likely to weather a financial storm.
'I had close co-operation with the government team. From 2008 [to last year], we joined hands to handle the [financial] crisis. So I have experience, ability and, most importantly, a good team,' Tang said.
Leung's office said it would not comment on Tang's remarks.
In January, Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen underlined the gravity of the crisis gripping the world economy, admitting he has 'never been as scared as now'.
Wu also rebutted Tang's criticism of the plan to deliver 85,000 new flats a year during Tung Chee-hwa's tenure as chief executive.
The initiative was blamed for sending property prices plummeting in the wake of the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis. Leung was then cabinet adviser on housing affairs.
Tang's attacks on Leung appear to be part of his tactics as he tries to close the 33.5 per cent chasm between him and front runner Leung in a popularity poll commissioned by the South China Morning Post this week.
Selina Chow Liang Shuk-yee, the Liberal Party's vice-chairwoman, said party members would meet after the plenary sessions of the National People's Congress and the CPPCC to decide their stance for the crucial vote on the chief executive election.
'I will not seek information [from Beijing] over the election, but I will listen to it when it blows to my side,' said Chow in Beijing, referring to speculation that the central government may indicate which candidate it favours during the legislative and conference sessions.